You Can't Just Mine Nicaragua's Harbor


Over the weekend, I yelled at a book "You can't just mine Nicaragua's harbor!" The book was Company Man by John Rizzo, CIA recipient of the infamous "torture memo"s under Bush and lifelong CIA lawyer. I was reading it for reasons, primarily because I was interested in how someone like him would talk about the various things he's been involved in—at least what he'd say in print. I thought of that moment today as the news cycle remained full of people talking about Russia's interference in the 2016 US elections.

continue reading...

Maybe Your Dissent Shouldn't Be Patriotic


The pithy comeback "dissent is patriotic" is getting a lot of play right now. Its underlying logic is sound enough, those who love their countries should want the country to be a better place. Even the most complacent could name a few things they'd like to see changed. Dissent surely may be patriotic.

But should it be?

continue reading...

Systemic Failures: Metadata Systems and Missteps


In answering a metadata question recently, I was reminded again of how the first system in which we encounter a concept can having lasting effects on how we think about that concept. It's certainly true for metadata and is one of the many reasons why I think it would be a bad idea for metadata teachers to teach "practical" stuff like DSpace, even though I see the appeal.

So. Here are brusque, dissmissive, and prejudicial assessments of how three major systems for digital metadata work will mis-influence your understandings. Take them with as many or few grains of salt as you need.

continue reading...

Creative Consumption


I took today off work to drive to the Pennsylvania Relief Sale preview event, which happened down in Ephrata. I wanted to go see the quilts, which are being shown before the auction in April. The preview goes through Saturday, so I could've waited, but both the Sale itself and today's preview include a quilter's area, where they sell resources (fabric, orphan blocks, unfinished projects, books, patterns, buttons, old/worn quilts, supplies) for extremely low prices.

Of course, it's catch-as-catch-can. Some of the materials are stained or torn or worn or otherwise unusable. Ancient thread may not be reliable—I might use it for hand work but not machine. It's a popular event and things go fast. I wanted to get there early. I've posted what I got on Twitter. This post isn't about that. It's more a reflection on my own habits of consumption, how they intersect with creativity, what I'm trying to do, and why I know this isn't world-changing.

continue reading...

Clear Running Creeks


It's flooding here.

It's flooding in Ohio and Virginia. On Friday, I swapped pictures of building leaks with friends. We speculated what will happen when departments empty out for the weekend. I haven't checked my email. Perhaps there are updates. Warnings.

As I drive to and from church, I follow the twists of a creek. The water, normally a placid, clear stream, rages a muddy brown and spills under the yards of my unfortunate neighbors who chose low-lying land.

It frightens me. I wonder how we'll deal with climate shifts when we can't even handle normal rains after melting snow.

And yet, I also find it mystical.

continue reading...